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Rubber product trade deficit falls slightly in July

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WASHINGTON—The U.S. rubber product trade shortfall actually dipped 0.2 percent in July but still topped $1 billion for the month.

The deficit stood at $1.17 billion in the month, as exports rose 12.1 percent to $944.3 million and imports gained 4.43 percent to $2.11 billion, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.

For the first seven months of 2014, the rubber product shortfall climbed 7.2 percent to $7.12 billion. Exports increased 1.7 percent to $6.25 billion with imports up 4.3 percent to $13.4 billion.

The deficit for tires and related products fell 0.8 percent in July to $828.3 million. Exports rose 9.6 percent, while imports increased 2.9 percent. For the year, the shortfall was up 5.9 percent to $5.4 billion.

In other rubber product categories during July, the hose and tubing deficit spiked 77.1 percent to $47.1 million; the belting shortfall fell 58.8 percent to $8.71 million; the deficit for miscellaneous hard rubber goods declined 9 percent to $90.2 million; the surplus for vulcanized rubber thread and cord was nearly erased, checking in at $2.32 million; and the surplus for hygienic and pharmaceutical goods was trimmed by half to $2.13 million.

On the supply side, the trade surplus for July more than doubled to $87 million, with exports rising 2.6 percent to $546.1 million and imports down 7 percent to $459.1 million. For the year, the surplus jumped 51.5 percent to $424.8 million.